We are very excited to bring to you this interview with 12 x Welsh National Champion, 54x UK Grand Prix Winner, Commonwealth Gold, Silver & Bronze medalist Ryan Jenkins!
1. Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
My biggest inspiration are the players in Wales. The effort they put into being better players and the dedication athletes need to sign up always inspires me to help their road to their top. I’m a former player so i know what lies ahead for them and can give them my experienced views on the best way to navigate through but it’s so different for each of them.
2. Do you think attitude is a factor in winning?
100% – You need good attitude without arrogance. Some top athletes can be winners with arrogance but i prefer to see humility and self confidence before arrogance. A single minded attitude to push your limits each and every day is the key to a better performance. There are different forms of attitudes and many fall into the trap of bad attitudes and loads of excuses why something isn’t working out as they wish.
3. How do you get the best out of your players?
I have to show the mark of what is acceptable and what isn’t to be a better player. I will give respect because I want that back from players. I want to provide opportunities for them to gain valuable knowledge and work out, for themselves, what is their best game. Players just need to play their best as often as possible – and that isn’t an easy thing to do – so they need to work out how to do that. I try to motivate and push them up when I can see they are a little down. I don’t have all the answers to everything, but I do have more experience and knowledge to help them improve.
4. Which one word describes you as a Coach?
5. What makes a great Coach?
The ability to listen, learn and execute. You have to believe in yourself and step up to the mark. Confidence in your abilities and remember anyone can be world number 1 if they have the right circumstances in place. A great coach will create the right environment and challenge players to do more each year. Planning is vital and a sense of how to get to the next step. A player needs to earn more self worth as they move up the ladder and a coach is exactly the same.
6. What do you look for in a player?
Commitment, passion of the sport, ability to listen, ability to use the advice you give them to improve, no excuses, think for themselves, find their best game as often as possible, thrive on the battle, deal with tough situations, be self sufficient and travel were needed.
There’s 2 types of players a) those who love table tennis and b) those that are good at it – you need players who have both a & b to make a real difference.
7. Can you share any tips on how to cope with pressure?
Most pressure comes from others. You need to bat it off and be satisfied that your preparation has been good enough. Yes we have expectations we wish to reach so there is internal pressure due to the amount of effort someone puts into their career, however that is always going to be part of dealing with top level sports. Making sure you play the crucial points well and make great decisions is what matters. When your seeded high to win a certain event, you will always get people coming to you and ask if your going to win the event today,,,! I mean what are you meant to say to that..? The diplomatic answer is “we’ll see how it goes” where inside you’re thinking “Of course, I haven’t shown up to lose have I…????” But dealing with people expecting you to win is a good place to be – shows you are in an elite position. Finally it’s ok to lose… There’s always tomorrow to sort it out.